Trump Has Been Silenced On Social Media


A lot about Big Tech and certainly the past few days show just how powerful these companies are. First, Twitter and Facebook suspended President Trump's access to his biggest online megaphones. Then Apple, Google and Amazon cut off parlor, a social media site popular with Trump supporters and joining us now to unpack. All of this is NPR's tech correspondent Shannon Bond. Hey, Shannon. Hey, Elsa. All right, so we should first know that Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are all among NPR's financial supporters. All right, So Shannon, what do you think He's pretty aggressive moves. Tell us about Silicon Valley right now. Also, you know when Facebook and Twitter cut off President Trump it really put the spotlight on something I think we've known for a long time. But I just seeing so starkly, Which is how much power these big tech companies wield because we conduct so much of our lives online. So there were the examples you mentioned. But also others that go beyond the question of speech really, to the bottom line stripe and papal cut off the ability of the president's campaign and his supporters to raise money and take payments. The e commerce companies, Shopify shut down an online shop connected to Trump that sold merchandise like Make America Great again. Hats and another shop owned by the Trump Organization that sold things like golf accessories and So these decisions they're raising some really big questions. What are some of those questions? Well, maybe the biggest one is all about access. So Amazon Apple Google. They have a lot of power over kind of what we think of more of the infrastructure of the Internet. In Apple and Google's cases, they you know, they decide what APS can go into the APP stores. So They decided this weekend to block parlor, the alternative social media site that Trump supporters had flocked to And that means it's much harder to get parlor on your smartphone, which is, of course, where most people use Social media, and then even more significantly, Amazon kicks parlor off its Web hosting service, so it's gone dark. You can't access it all today. Parlor sued Amazon. And basically, you know, we're really realizing seeing very tangibly Just how much power Big tech has to decide which companies which brands which businesses can effectively exist online, Okay, sure. That is a lot of power. But isn't all of this bound to But these companies even under more scrutiny going forward, Yeah, I think that's absolutely fair, and I spoke with Ben Weisner at the American Civil Liberties Union piece of the same thing. He's really concerned about these individual companies. Power. Here's what he told me. And it may be that by exercising their right their constitutional right to decide who can use their products right now they're going to bring a different kind of regulatory focus down on them about whether we should have let these companies get this big in the first place. So you know, this isn't gonna go away else. I mean, remember these companies they're already under a lot of scrutiny. Facebook and Google are facing any trust investigations. Now we have Congress promising new investigations here, so I think the spotlight just continues. Well, I mean, turning to President Trump. He got off. He got cut off from Twitter and Facebook now parlor. It was a momentary alternative, but that's gone. Now, where will trump go? You think that is the big question? There are plenty of upstart sites that want him. He might even start his own outlet. I think, Elsa, it's safe to assume he's not getting off of the Internet for good. I

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